More on the Gulf Coast Catastrophe

The Interdictor is reporting signs of life in NOLA. Let's hope the trend continues.

Meanwhile, I wanted to comment on some notes stemming from my earlier rant on the calamity.

First of all, Kwasi (viva immigrante), who has a very nice blog, pointed to his own rant, and I heartily cosign with most of his points and his fury. I focused my notes more on the insane economics of the Katrina response, whereas he focused squarely on the humanitarian and sociological dimensions. There is tremendous suffering in the Gulf Coast that from everything I, Kwasi, and many others can tell, could have been heavily reduced, if our government cared about its citizens better. People who carp about complaints from hindsight including putrid comment spammers are choosing to ignore the substance of the complaints.

My initial response, like those of most of us who follow human tragedy, was one of shock, pity, empathy. From whence, then, comes this wave of anger, this storm surge of emotion seething within me that threatens to overcome my better nature? It comes with the realization that, despite the capricious and uncontrollable nature of the hurricane, the vast majority of the tableau of misery that plays out before us represents an Optional Tragedy.

I'm glad Kanyeezee saw fit to speak his mind. I tend to say instead that it's poor people rather than Black people that our present government is happy to abandon, but regardless of that distinction, I'm all for a prominent figure pulling some cards right now. Someone damn well has to, because Americans will be all too eager to forget the whole tragedy once CNN starts losing interest in the Gulf Coast.

Oh yeah, big up US Rep. Diane Watson for a little card-pulling of her own:

Shame, shame on America. We were put to the test, and we have failed

And it's just amazing that no tragedy is overwhelming enough for us to, even for a moment, put aside our contempt for the rest of the world. John Cowan pointed me to this shocking story of disdain for the visitors whose tourist dollars have provided so much fuel to NOLA's much-remembered joie-de-vivre.

It's been my observation for years that the direction of American culture slouches towards oligarchy, but the NOLA disaster indicates something worse. It feels as if we don't just want to reserve power for the few and the wealthy, but we want to reserve even civil protections for these few. The elite in Washington storm to faraway war, but don't expect their children to be among those who risk their lives and limbs in combat. They find excuses for poor mobilization in the face of natural disaster, because they know their own children are not in peril, nor do those in peril even look like their children. And in the middle of all this, nothing, it seems, can stir the great mass from its ennui.

[Uche Ogbuji]

via Copia